Student Awards and News

A wide variety of organizations, countries, and academic institutions recognize the caliber and excellence of School of Engineering students. From a UNM School of Engineering award to an international endowment, SOE students are winners.

View a few of the awards received from students in Chemical & Nuclear Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.


Chemical & Nuclear Engineering

SOE Student Garner Prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship 

angelica_sanchezAngelica Sanchez was awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which includes a $30,000 stipend and a $10,500 tuition allowance for up to three years. The Graduate Research Fellowship, awarded on a competitive basis by an extensive application process, provide three years of support for graduate study leading to research-based master’s or doctoral degrees. Angelica is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering/NanoMaterials/Microsystems under the mentorship of Distinguished Professor of Chemical Nuclear Engineering Abhaya Datye. She conducts research in the field of heterogeneous catalysis. Her project involves the study of the sintering behavior of gold nanoparticles, which could be an important step in finding a cause for the loss or deactivation of nucleation sites for the gold catalyst that occurs during the sintering process. Understanding atomic scale details of nucleation sites would lead to a fundamental understanding of catalyst stability and could be applied to gold as well as other catalysts. This work is funded by NSF’s PIRE program.


Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering Grad Student Awarded AAUW Fellowship

9-13-10 -- Amelia Scharrer has been awarded an AAUW Selected Professions Fellowship for the 2010-2011 academic year. Selected Professions Fellowships provide opportunities for women to pursue degrees in fields where women traditionally have been underrepresented.



CE Senior Project Course Wins National Award

NCEES5-10-10 – The UNM Civil Engineering Department won a prestigious award from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering for “engaging students in collaborative projects with professional licensed engineers”. The award honors UNM’s Capstone Course (CE 497/499), a unique integration of construction management and civil engineering skills into a design/build project format. Representatives from the New Mexico Board of Professional Engineers and Surveyors, Subhas Shah and Julie I. Petrocco-Samora (holding the plaque, above), presented a $7,500 check and a plaque to the course instructor, Andrew Schuler, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, on April 29.

CE Grad Student Wins First Place in Student Conferencepatricia_jones

Civil engineering graduate student Patricia Jones took first place in a student competition for Best Oral Presentation at the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Federation/American Water Works Association Annual Student Conference, held May 12, 2009 at the University of Wyoming. Her talk was titled "New Insights to Causes of Activated Sludge Settling Problems: Seasonal and Effects on Biomass Density," and was based on research for a Masters Thesis with CE Assistant Professor Andrew Schuler.

NM ITE Award Winners

nm_iteSenior Emmy Foley won the student paper competition sponsored by the New Mexico Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) for her paper "Redesign of Northbound Oak Street Between Central and MLK." Seniors Trent Simpler and Bryan Estvanko were co-winners of the second place award. NMITE Section President Jim Barrera presented the $200 and $100 awards at a ceremony in the new Centennial Engineering Center.

Computer Science

Computer Science Department Senior Honored for Great Firewall of China Project

ronnie_garduno1-12-11--Ronnie Garduno recently received honorable mention in the Computing Research Association (CRA) 2011 Undergraduate Research Awards. The CRA competition recognizes outstanding undergraduate researchers in the nation each year. Ronnie works with Prof. Crandell investigating internet censorship in China. Ronnie is also part of the 2009-10 cohort of the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program.

Computer Science Students, Professor Find Novel Way to Improve Cancer Treatment by Using Resources

Shuang_Luan5-26-10 -- At UNM, innovation frequently begins with a professor interested in finding a better way to do something. This story begins with Shuang Luan, an assistant professor of Computer Science who finds great satisfaction in finding ways to improve treatment for cancer patients. He is currently exploring ways to make gamma knife radiation treatments as precise as possible. Photo: Shuang Luan


CS Graduate Students Lead First UNM Course on Complex Networks

complexnetwork 6/1/10 -- Three UNM PhD students, George Bezerra (Computer Science), Paul Hooper (Anthropology), and Wenyun Zuo (Biology) spent the Spring 2010 semester developing and teaching the first interdisciplinary course on Complex Networks Science at UNM.

This unique teaching experience was provided through the auspices of UNM's Program of Interdisciplinary Biological and Biomedical Sciences (PiBBs), where the three students are fellows. The course had 17 registered students from more than 7 different departments, plus several researchers and professors who regularly joined the lectures and discussions. The course covered topics such as random graphs, small-world networks, scale-free networks, fractal networks, network scaling, and community structure. It also included case studies of human and animal social networks, biological food webs, metabolic networks, road systems, neural networks, and computational networks. The material used in the course are available online at PiBBs .

Ronnie Garduño Accepted into UNM's Ronald E. McNair Program

ronnie_gardunoCS Department student Ronnie Garduño has been accepted into the 2009-10 cohort of the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program. The program is part of the Federally-funded and mandated TRIO program for assisting under-represented minorities and first-generation college students in their academic undertakings. Ronnie is among the 26 undergraduate students to get the opportunity to participate in an intense research and graduate preparation program.

Amitabh Trehan Wins Dean's Dissertation Fellowship

amitabh_trehanPhD candidate, Amitabh Trehan, received the Dean's Dissertation Fellowship for the year 2009-2010 for his dissertation proposal "Self-Healing networks". The fellowship will provide one year financial assistance for the completion of his PhD degree. Earlier Trehan was nominated for this fellowship by the Computer Science department.


UNM Computer Science Student Chairs Software Session at International Conference

hairong_leiUNM computer science doctoral student Hairong Lei recently served as software session chair for the 2009 International Conference on New Trends in Information and Service Science. He also presented "Software’s Eight Essentials." The proceedings will be published by IEEE's Computer Science series. Lei's recent publications include "Protein-Protein Interaction Prediction Using Single Class SVM" and "Modular High-Speed Adaptive Optics System." He is working with Joe Kniss, UNM assistant professor of computer science, on "Supervised Manifold Distance Segmentation."

Computing Innovationsushmita_roy

Computer science PhD student Sushmita Roy received a Computing Innovation Fellowship for her proposal to develop "A machine learning framework for learning networks across multiple species." The fellowship was awarded by The Computing Community Consortium and the Computing Research Association with funding from the NSF.

Diane Oyen Wins Regents Graduate Student Fellowshipdiane_oyen

Computer Science PhD student Diane Oyen won a School of Engineering Regents Graduate Fellowship, of which three are awarded each year. The award carries with it a $2000 stipend.

Diane researches machine learning with her advisor Prof. Terran Lane. She has been analyzing neuroimaging data by modeling the brain as a network of activity, especially to find how mental illness affects this network.

Electrical & Computer Science

ECE Student Garner Prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship 

Monica_MadridMonica Madrid was awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which includes a $30,000 stipend and a $10,500 tuition allowance for up to three years. The Graduate Research Fellowship, awarded on a competitive basis by an extensive application process, provide three years of support for graduate study leading to research-based master’s or doctoral degrees.

Monica conducts her research in collaboration with her faculty advisor, ECE Assistant Professor Jamesina Simpson. She is also a research assistant at UNM's Center for High Tech Materials. Working with Simpson and ECE Professor Majeed Hayat, she is helping to construct full Maxwell's equation models of the interaction of specific synthetic-aperture radar pulses with vibrating structures in a project titled, “Co-registered Vibrometry & Imaging: A Combined Synthetic-Aperture Radar & Fractional-Fournier Transform Approach.” The project began in 2008 and is funded by the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Grad Student Feucht Earns Space Scholarship

greg_feuchtThe Space Vehicles Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base has selected ECE masters student Greg Feucht for a 2009 Space Scholars summer internship. At AFRL, Feucht will work on the topic of canonical reconfigurable space systems with Dr. Jim Lyke. He is working under the direction of his faculty advisor, Rafael Fierro, associate professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Grad Student Tawk's Paper Awarded youseff_tawk

Youseff Tawk has earned an Honorable Mention in the Student Paper Contest for the 2009 IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation. Tawk's paper is titled "A Cellular Automata Reconfigurable Microstrip Antenna Design," and his advisor is Christos Christodoulou, professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Croatian Award Recognizes ECE Grad Student

ivana_palunkoElectrical and Computer Engineering doctoral student Ivana Palunko is among three winners of the 2009 National Science Award granted by Croatia's National Endowment for Science, Higher Education and Technological Development. The organization grants the award in collaboration with the daily newspaper, Novi list, of Rijeka, Croatia. Palunko earned the award in the field of technical and biotechnical sciences for the journal paper based on her master's thesis titled "Small helicopter control design based on model reduction and decoupling." Her work deals with mathematical modeling and control of small unmanned helicopters.


Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering Grad Student Receives International NSF Post-Doctoral Fellowship

Jason_Sanchez5-26-10 -- Mechanical engineering graduate student Jason Sanchez is headed to the Technical University of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain on an international post-doctoral fellowship from the National Science Foundation to research computational failure mechanics with Professor Xavier Oliver. He is planning to defend his dissertation later this summer before he leaves for Spain.

Photo: Jason Sanchez

Sanchez presented his research at a conference in Venice, Italy in 2008. He stopped in Spain to meet with Oliver and to discuss the possibility of future research. Oliver told him about the possibility of funding from NSF and Sanchez applied successfully for the fellowship, which will support his research over the next two years.


2009 Outstanding Senior Engineering Student

elena_berlibaIn February, mechanical engineering senior Elena Berliba received the 2009 New Mexico Society of Professional Engineers Outstanding Senior Engineering Student of the Year award. Beliba is now pursuing her master’s degree with research in synthesizing and characterizing nanoparticles.